Moong Dal - Pumpkin Soup

For Day 2 of BM #35, here is the rest of the article by Pooja, the dietitian, continued from yesterday..

How does protein pack a punch?
Our bodies need three vital Macro-nutrients to survive. These are carbohydrates, proteins and fats. We also need micro-nutrients like vitamins and minerals, but these are required in lesser amounts. 

Think of the micro-nutrients like make-up that you apply. They're what you need to look beautiful, but it's the macro-nutrients that are going to determine your health and that are absolutely vital. 

Ideally, for optimal health, your intake of carbohydrates, proteins and fats should be balanced. However, in reality, this seldom happens. In fact, 90% of what the average Indian eats consists solely of carbohydrates and fats! We're obviously getting less protein and this can lead to greater medical problems. More than half of the patients we treat today (for obesity and metabolic syndrome) have followed a diet that's severely lacking in protein.

Why is this so crucial that it can determine our well-being? 

  • Proteins are the building blocks of muscles, bones, hormones, skin cells and tissues.
  • It is responsible for the regeneration of our body cells. That's why it's so important for growing children and lactating women. 
  • In adults, it helps heal wounds and recover more rapidly from injury, prevents hair loss and weakness.

If you have been exercising regularly, but not been losing weight, a lack of protein may be to blame. After you exercise, your muscles are worn out; protein helps re-build the muscle tissue. More muscle in the body helps burn more calories and this also gives you the strength and energy to work out more vigorously in your next session as well. This is why weight loss is so much faster when there is adequate protein in the diet. 

High protein diets are also considered better for better diabetic control and dyslipidemia (abnormal amount of lipids (e.g. cholesterol and/or fat) in the blood). But it should be used with caution in people with renal problems(kidney prob). 

Protein for weight loss
Instead of counting calories in our foods as so many diets compel us to do, experts now believe that we should be using our mathematical skills to find out if we're getting enough protein instead! 

A normal person requires 1 gm of protein for every kilo of body weight. So if you're sixty kilos, you need 60 gms of protein every day. However, if want to lose weight, then you need to eat even more. This is because the body tends to burn carbohydrates first, then proteins and finally fats.

When our diet consists of an overdose of carbohydrates and fats, exercising is not as effective in weight loss, since we'll only be burning carbohydrates and won't be exercising long enough to burn fats. If we increase our intake of protein, our intake of carbohydrates will automatically decrease and we tend to burn proteins quickly and the fats more easily, resulting in weight loss.

When to have it
Ideally, protein should never be taken when you're starving or very hungry. This is because the body, in starvation mode, tends to convert protein into carbohydrates, thus defeating the purpose . 
The best way to increase your intake of protein would be to have small frequent meals throughout the day. As absorption of protein by the body takes 1.5 to 2 hours, it is best to complete your food two hours before bedtime. If you sleep while your body is busy absorbing protein, it will hinder absorption, converting it to carbohydrates again.

Vegetarian Vs Non-Vegetarian sources
Both vegetarians and non-vegetarians can get their protein requirements from food, but vegetarians may find it difficult to get enough, since the sources of protein in plant foods are limited. 

Usage of whey water (water left while making paneer) in shakes and soups is a good option. Traditional Indian meals include cereal-pulse combinations that are easily absorbed by the body, like dal-roti, idli sambhar, chole chawal. All this improves the overall quality of protein for vegetarian intake.

Calculate your protein needs based on your body weight. Ensure that you take in adequate amounts of protein everyday, both to fuel weight loss and promote growth.
Since anything in excess has a negative effect, so is protein also. If taken in excess, it puts extra load on kidneys leading to various troubles.

So Balance diet is what is required for a healthy lifestyle.  It can cure more than a medicine and another thing which I always say is your attitude towards life. You can drive your life as God has given the steering wheel to you even though he is the engine. Always trust your engine and drive with confidence in the direction you want. Destination is never far from you.

Some more tips for effective Weight Loss..
  • Know your threshold. Limit your portions and stop before you are full.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. For every 20kgs, you should be taking 1 liter of water.
  • Focus more on salads, fruits, green tea and other fluids like coconut water, buttermilk etc.
  • Use olive oil for cooking and in less quantity.
  • Add fiber to your meals by adding wheat bran to wheat flour and you can have Flax seeds (alsi) 1-2 tsp/day.
Another recipe from Pooja which is protein rich and makes up a healthy and wholesome meal in itself.

Moong Dal - Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients - 

Moong Dal 3/4 cup
Pumpkin Cubed 1 cup
Tomato chopped 1 cup
Turmeric 1/4 tsp
Salt as needed
Pepper as needed
Cumin Powder 1/4 tsp
Red Chilli Powder as needed

Lemon juice squeeze (Optional)

Method Of Preparation -

Pressure cook all the ingredients except pepper. 

After the pressure cooker cools down, puree the mixture adding as much water as is necessary to achieve the desired consistency. (I used an immersion blender to do this).

Boil the mixture again and let it simmer on low heat for a few minutes. Sprinkle powdered black pepper and adjust the taste as needed.

Serve hot with croutons for a filling appetizer/dinner.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 35.

Preparation Time 25 min
Serves 4
Posted by Harini R on Wednesday, December 4, 2013


  1. Sumee Says:
  2. Moong Dal and pumpkin ... interesting combo.. Love the color of the soup.

  3. Wow nice soup

  4. Unknown Says:
  5. very very healthy and delicious soup :) love the appealing color of it !!

  6. so informative and educational info

  7. Akila Says:
  8. Very tempting soup

  9. Delicious and comforting looking soup. Excellent preparation.

  10. nayana Says:
  11. very informative post, a very simple yet healthy soup.....

  12. Srivalli Says:
  13. The picture has turned out so well Harini and yes I am going to be back reading this again..thanks for the efforts!

  14. nice color.. so much of info..

  15. Very healthy and delicious soup

  16. Soup looks very delicious , colorful and tempting .

  17. Archana Says:
  18. Harini I am in love with this soup. It will have to feature soon at home as with 3 sick people its something I need. Thanks.

  19. Pavani Says:
  20. Awesome post. Soup looks creamy & yummy!!

  21. The picture is just too good! lovely soup recipe.

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